Review: Martin Freeman is Richard III at the Trafalgar Studios
Review: Daytona at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Review: Nick Payne's The Art of Dying at the Royal Court

510x340.fitandcropNick Payne is sat on a chair in the middle of the stage talking about when his dad was dying. You probably aren't going to see a piece of theatre as affecting or personal as this.

And that is its power. It is obviously a personal experience for Payne but then so is it for anyone who's suffered a loss.

With great pathos he interweaves his experiences with the stories of two other deaths adding a dose of humour along the way.

What the stories acutely show is just how raw the emotions are around death, emotions that are at once simple and complicated. Despite the certainty of death it remains an awkward, uncomfortable subject; it is one we tend to brush under the carpet.

This awkwardness is reflected in how we behave and react towards death and ultimately in how the dying are treated. Should someone be told they are dying or is it better to lie and maintain a sense of optimism?  Should you be able to choose how and when you die? 

As Payne reaches the end of his stories there is a tear in his eye and only the hardest of hearts would be unmoved - I wanted to rush over to him and give him a hug.

The Art of Dying is a simple piece that not only raises some interesting questions but in just 40 minutes packs a barrage of emotional punches. It runs as the Royal Court Upstairs until July 12.


Nick Payne's play The Same Deep Water as Me premiered at the Donmar Warehouse last year and starred Daniel Mays who was in Mojo with Mr W.